Having examined the menu on the wall of Baguette Delite, a Vietnamese sandwich shop in Edison, I tell the genial counterman I want a lemongrass beef banh mi sandwich and a sardine tomato-sauce banh mi. I’m sold on beef with that lemony-minty-gingery flavor and I love everything about sardines.
Suddenly a gal who has rushed in to snap up her order of a BBQ pork banh mi tells me I must order one, too. She unwraps hers and opens the baguette to reveal slices of orange-hued sauced pork, chopped cilantro, matchsticks of carrot and slivers of cucumber.
“Sold!” I tell the counterman, who grins and adds it to my order.
“OK,” I tell my companion on this eating mission, “we’ve got the BBQ pork, the lemongrass beef and the sardine-tomato coming.” We decide to add a bowl of beef brisket pho (which rhymes with duh), the fundamental Vietnamese soup, plus the combo pork chop on “broken rice” and an order of Vietnamese eggrolls.
Condiments (sprouts, basil leaves, some hot stuff) are brought to our dinette-style table by Qwan, the owner (who, like Beyonce and Adele, goes by one name). Soon comes our bowl of the restorative noodle soup, chunky with beef, scallions, cilantro and onions. The broth is potent. It’ll cure what ails you.
The cigar-shaped Vietnamese eggrolls are crispy and filled with ground pork, mushrooms and cellophane noodles. I place one in a romaine leaf with sprigs of cilantro, add a drizzle of the accompanying sweet-tart sauce, fold and eat. It’s so good I forgive on the spot whoever decided to misspell Delight in naming this drop-in eatery.
We dig into the three banh mi sandwiches, I don’t think any is superior to the others. The sardine is perfect for when you crave something resolutely fishy; the lemongrass beef for when you want a lighter, brighter take on meat; and the BBQ pork for when you want tangy and faintly sweet.
My advice? Order them all (they’re just $5 each). Whatever you don’t finish makes a midnight snack or tomorrow’s lunch.
Don’t leave Baguette Delite without trying the most expensive thing on the menu: the $7.75 combo pork chop, which is worth twice the price. It comes with a sunnyside-up egg that spurts yolk when pierced and mingles with shreds and slices of pork, frizzled onions and white rice. Dab with hot sauce and smack your lips. If you do that, Qwan will smile.
There’s bubble tea, but this night somehow calls for milkshakes. Coconut? Peach? Both arre more likely to be available than the less-requested jackfruit. Refreshing, creamy, cold. The right way to end a meal at Baguette Delite.
Baguette Delite, 381 Old Post Road, Edison. Open every day except Monday, 9 am to 9 pm. baguettedeliteedison.com.Click here to leave a comment